Darren Clarke, Champion at British Open

Darren Clarke wins British OpenRegardless of how long it grows or even how fast, the list of major champs from the small country of Northern Ireland now would not be satisfied without Darren Clarke.

He does not have the magnificent swing of Rory Mcllroy or the placing competence of Graeme McDowell, the last two U.S. Open champions.  He has not satisfied in a main for the last 10 years, was not just eligible for the last three majors and was no longer between the top 100 in the world.

The three-shot success of Clarke in the British Open, on his 20th try, was met with endless praises, the loudest saved for the ending ceremony when he was introduced as the champion golfer of the year.

Clarke, said, the claret jug at his side, “I’m a bit of a normal bloke, aren’t I? I like to go to the pub and have a pint, fly home, buy everybody a drink, just normal. There’s not many airs and graces about me. I was a little bit more difficult to deal with in my earlier years, and I’ve mellowed some. Just a little bit. But I’m just a normal guy playing golf, having a bit of fun.”

Phil Mickelson, who needed just seven holes to make up a five-shot shortage, stepped aside by missing too much short putts.  Dustin Johnson, in the last group of a major for the third time in the last six, created one more blunder with a major at risk.  At this moment, he was two shots behind on the par-5 14th, attempted to lay up with a 2-iron and strike it out-of-bounds to create double bogey.

They shared second place, extending the American drought to six straight majors without success.

In spite of worthless bogeys on the last two holes, Clarke sealed with an even-par 70.

Clarke said, “Pretty amazing right now.  It’s been a dream since I’ve been a kid to win the Open, like any kid’s dream is, and I’m able to do it, which just feels incredible.”

The condition was so wild that heavy rain switched over to sunshine, back and forth the entire afternoon, in a persistent wind.  Clarke was fixed through it all, not permitting himself to think about what it meant to hold the claret jug until he stepped onto the 18th green.

Clarke removed his visor to greet the gallery.  His hair is approximately all gray now, the outcome of a 42-year-old who has disappeared through extra fixed times than he cares to consider, the most horrible of it losing his wife to cancer five years ago.

He said, “Bad times in golf are more frequent than the good times.  I’ve always been pretty hard on myself when I fail because I don’t find it very easy to accept that. And there are times I’ve been completely and utterly fed up with the game.”

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